Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nearly there

As you will have heard the House Of Commons supported the options of 80% elected / 20% appointed second chamber passed by a simple majority (ayes: 305; nos: 267) and the option for a fully elected second chamber passed by an absolute majority (ayes: 337; nos: 224).

I didn’t get the chance to read or watch much of the debate that took place in the House of Commons with regard to House of Lords reform last week so I was very surprised to hear that the House of Commons had only supported the 80% elected and 100% elected options. I was almost certain that the 20%, 40% and 50% options would fail but I also expected the 100% appointed and 100% elected to fail. I thought that if any would pass with a majority they would be the 60% and 80% and I thought that the majorities would be small, maybe even in the single figures.

As time has passed I have become a stronger supporter of a fully elected second chamber but I didn’t think we would get to this point so soon. I thought that we may get a partly elected second chamber soon and wait for it to push for an increase in its elected proportion.

Even with the success that supporters of reform enjoyed on Wednesday we can become complacent, relaxed and satisfied just yet. The battle for a democratic second chamber is not over yet.

The House of Lords will be debating its future this coming week and the call for a democratic upper house is likely to be met with defiance, opposition and resistance in the House of Lords. Not only from traditional opponents of reform but also from those who now enjoy their privileges as an unelected member of the legislature and do not wish to give them up.

If the supporters of reform become complacent, relaxed and satisfied now the success of Wednesdays vote will remain unfulfilled for years, even decades.

If you are a supporter of reform I would like to urge you to contact as many peers as possible urging them to support the Commons will when they have the chance to vote on reforming the House of Lords on Wednesday.

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